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By J. S. McClelland

This can be a nice publication to realize a greater knowing of a number of the thoughts of western politcal thought...its sparknotes for any poli sci significant, yet on an highbrow level...its a superb publication.

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At the very least, these virtues do not make me vulnerable and they might also enable me to protect myself from others; at best, they might help me to a position of dominance on the principle that in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Justice holds out no such promise. The good fare badly among the wicked, and the worst position of all would be to be the only just man left. The conclusion might be drawn that wisdom, courage and temperence are obviously political virtues in a sense that justice is not.

During the education of Guardians a good deal has to be taken on trust because the end is very far away from the beginning. It is not until Guardians are over fifty that they emerge from the training process as fully-fledged rulers in their own right, and we are to assume that only a few make it right to the end. The selection process also provides the state with its structure, because each person remains in the highest class that his own talents will take him to. Promoting a person beyond his capacities is neither good for him nor good for the whole.

We already know that Plato is concerned to distinguish between different kinds of knowledge, and that for him knowledge is closely related to the idea of a skill, so we should not be surprised when Socrates suggests that a properly organised state is one in which people are assigned to their places according to what kinds of skills they are capable of developing. One of these skills, the art of managing others, will be the basis of the ruling group’s claim to rule the rest. Therefore, we would be right to expect that the most important institutional arrangements in Plato’s state would be those devoted to the training, and so to the perpetuation, of the ruling group.

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